Give her the fruit of her hands and let her own works praise her in the gates – Proverbs 31:31
The concluding words of Proverbs 31 gives women something to ponder. What does the fruit of our hands look like? Will it bring praise when our time here on this earth is over? Will the legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and family be a beautiful legacy of a faithful and fruitful life?
I often think about the legacy my own dear mother left behind. Her example is still teaching me things 23 years after she left this world. We’ve all heard that “actions speak louder than words.” My mom’s life was a perfect example of this. She never preached to us but her example spoke volumes.
Mom never had a job outside the home, never pursued a career or went back to school. She didn’t belong to any clubs or Bible study groups. She didn’t even attend church on Sunday. She often said she would like to go to church, but dad would not go to church and mom didn’t want to go without him.
I found it rather ironic after mom’s death when a neighbor commented that my mother was more of a Christian than anyone else she had ever known. Several other people in our small town made the same statement in the months following mom’s death – all part of mom’s legacy of faith she left behind.
Mom’s entire life revolved around her home and family. According to today’s standards, mom would have been thought of as unsuccessful, wasting her time, not making anything of herself, or perhaps thought of as someone without a life.
The opposite was true. Mom had something few women today will ever experience – real joy and true contentment. Mom didn’t desire to pursue activities outside her home. She was happy and content and accepted her calling as wife, mother, and homemaker. Her family and home were enough.
We never wondered what place we held in mom’s life when we were growing up. We never had to compete with a career or outside activities for mom’s affection and attention.
We didn’t have structured family devotions either. Mom taught us about God and faith as we walked beside her and picked flowers on warm summer days, while we worked beside her in the garden and kitchen, and when we fed newborn calves and helped with farm chores.
We learned how to have compassion on other people and how to love our enemies at mom’s side – all by the example she set. She taught us to find joy in the simple things in life. She always found good in every person, even those who were difficult and unloving at times.
The journals and diaries she kept faithfully during her years as a young farm wife and mother are another reminder of how much she loved her family and home. Beautifully handwritten in dime-store notebooks, they are filled with the wisdom of a Godly and contented woman.
I’ve heard other women share similar stories about their mothers and grandmothers who left behind priceless legacies of faithful and fruitful lives. It makes me wonder what legacy our generation will leave behind.
The amount of discontentment among women today is astounding. It seems many women are constantly searching for more things to become involved with, rushing from one place to another, never satisfied, never content. Feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed out have taken up residence where peace and contentment were meant to live.
As we celebrate Mother’s day today, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the example we are setting for our children and grandchildren. Are we diligently working on our legacy of faith for future generations? What will our children and grandchildren remember about us one day?
Life is short and we only have a limited amount of time to build our legacy. The choices we make each day will become part of our legacy, whether good or bad.
When our time on this earth is over, will the fruit of our hands bring us praise, or will our legacy be marred with discontentment and selfishness?